Edward R. Hugo
Co-presented by Tina M. Glezakos and Bina Ghanaat
Hugo Parker, LLP
San Francisco, California
LCA Complimentary Webinar Series, April 8, 2021
Virtual jury trials present real problems that were unforeseen in a trial before COVID-19. For the moment, put aside the fact that courts cannot guarantee that prospective jurors will be selected from a representative cross section of the community because many people will not respond to a jury summons during a pandemic. But, imagine that some of those that do show up for the voir dire process “attend” by phone while: driving their car, exercising on an elliptical machine, disappearing from view to go into the kitchen to remove something from the stove, or answer the front door bell to accept delivery of a long awaited Peloton trainer, or lying in bed, apparently asleep. You will be evaluating those people from among 100 little boxes on your Zoom screen. And, you may not be able to object to the proceedings because the host placed you on mute. Also, the court may mistakenly excuse prospective jurors for cause by email without your knowledge. These are not fictional problems. They are part of the reality of virtual trials that we have experienced.